College Students Pushing Campuses To Provide Abortion Pills

Pro-choice students are urging colleges and universities to make abortion pills readily available at campus clinics.

By Erika Hanson | Published

University Warns Professors Not To Discuss Abortions Or Contraception With Students

abortion pills

The supreme court’s decision to reverse Roe V. Wade – the historic ruling that made abortions federally legal – has caused an upheaving movement among pro-choice American youth. Students in schools across the nation walked out of class to protest, and many have completely uprooted their plans for college in accordance with whether or not campuses are located in states which have now criminalized abortions. Now some activists are taking the fight even further, demanding that college campuses make abortion pills readily available to those seeking them.

Many liberal colleges and universities have long made it part of their motto to offer students access to reproductive health needs. Typically, this means access to various contraceptives, medical screenings for sexually transmitted diseases, and even the morning after pill, not to be confused with abortion pills. But now that pro-choice activists across the country fear that it is becoming harder than ever for college females to access an abortion if needed, they are urging schools to offer abortion pills. Some are adhering to these wishes, while others remain skeptical of doing so.

The abortion pill, as it is most commonly known, involves a prescription from a doctor to consume two different medications known as mifepristone and misoprostol. Safe for use, they are approved by the federal government. Unlike procedural abortions, they are only available to be taken during the early stages of pregnancy, typically up to 10 weeks. It is also the most common form of abortion in America.

Many institutions for higher education have already begun making abortion pills available for students on college campuses. The University of Illinois Chicago is one such progressive school that already offers access to the abortion pill. Others are following suit. The University of Massachusetts Amherst will begin offering the pill this fall. In the most sweeping instance, a new California law will mandate that the state’s public universities must offer the medication on campuses.

Even with more schools becoming open to providing this controversial medication, there is just as much concern with the notion of providing abortion pills for other colleges and universities. However, it’s not as simple of a decision to make because even in states where abortion has been or soon will be, completely illegal, there are some challenges. For example. Mifepristone and misoprostol are FDA-approved medications. U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland pointed out that states can not block access to an approved drug. 

However, Elisabeth Smith, JD, director of state policy and advocacy at the Center for Reproductive Rights, fears that states will still be allowed to block access to the abortion pill. Because of this, many schools in such states are hesitant to get caught up in a potential legal battle, even if they agree with making the access available. What’s more, many publicly funded schools fear penalties if they get caught up in the middle of abortion rights. 

abortion pills

According to data from the CDC, the majority of abortions conducted throughout the nation are done on women in their 20s. Likewise, women who attend college while they have a child are less likely to graduate than those who don’t. As states continue to take away female rights to end a pregnancy, more pro-choice activists will continue to push for broader options at the college level, where access to options like the abortion pill can be crucial.